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tv   MSNBC News Live  MSNBC  November 19, 2009 2:00pm-2:59pm EST

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hollywood figured out a way to rake in big bucks and cut down the piles of trash from movie and television shoots. we will show you how. good afternoon, i'm melissa francis. >> i'm contessa brewer and "it's the economy" on msnbc. the big story we are following now, getting new details in this fight over the senate's health care reform plan. senate majority leader harry reid says a vote on his plan will happen saturday, although he is not sure if he will have the votes required to start the debate. >> and nonetheless, democratic leaders are boasting about their senate health care overhaul, now that the cost estimate is n the congressional budget office says the plan will cost $484 billion over the next -- >> $848 billion. >> i was all around it. >> right. >> and reduce the deficit by $130 billion and extend coverage to 31 million americans. democrats are thrilled with the numbers but the gop says it's baloney. >> a smaller number, you know why? because the benefits start a year later. well, what a surprise.
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this is over $1 trillion. it is the same nonsense that passed the house. it is 2,074 pages. gimme a break. >> nbc's kelly o'donnell joins us now. kelly, the house bill costs $1.2 trillion compared to $848 billion in the senate. do we know what accounts for the difference? >> well, republicans talk about when the bill would be implemented over time and that the cost then would expand to as much as $2.5 trillion if you go all the way out to 2023. so, numbers can be very tough and until you look at them, how you analyze them. originally, when the house bill came out, they had used sort of a net number instead of a gross number, always trying to fit the overall total package into the president's guidelines of under $900 billion. so, this is sort of an eye of the beholder moment. the official cbo number is $848 billion for the cost in the first ten years. >> all right. and we know that we are wait for
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the republicans to come out and talk about this bill, their reaction to it. democrats are pressing them, if you don't like it, put your own alternative plan on the internet. are the republicans going to come up with a full alternative overhaul plan? >> well, we certainly saw that on the house side, but on the senate side, the focus has been on trying to get amendments, if it gets to the point of even getting to the floor. one of the things we are talking about is the potential that republican werens would actually want to read all 2,074 pages of this bill on the senate floor. that is unclear at the moment. but tom coburn, republican of oklahoma who is one of those who is always watching the budget, he is considered one of the fiscal hawks, he has been threatening to do that to kind of stretch out the time and have an opportunity to point out all the details in the bill. >> kelly, just want to interrupt you for a second, we are looking at lamar alexander right now, who is speaking on health care. >> those are the democrats but we know the republicans are speaking. so, let's look at that and here's lamar alexander, the senator from tennessee.
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>> bill like this would probably add $1 billion to state costs over five years. the two most important new parts of the bill make it even worse. someone a payroll tax so we are now going to tracks medicare and cut medicare instead of spending the money on medicare, which is going broke in 2015, we are going to spend it on a new government program. and the second thing that's not good, that's new, is the new payroll tax on hiring. about the last thing you'd need at a time when we have 10% unemployment is a new payroll tax on hiring. instead of this kind of bill, which is not much different than any of the other bills that we have seen over the last several months, republicans still believe that what we should do
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is start over, set a clear goal of reducing costs and go step-by-step in the direction of reducing costs. we have said that day after day after day for months now. and we have suggested what those steps could be. we could start with small business health plans which allow small businesses to pool their resources and offer their employees cheaper insurance. competition across state lines, ending junk lawsuits against doctors or at least reducing them, allowing the creation of more exchanges, so there could be shopping for cheaper insurance for people who want insurance, ending waste, fraud and abuse which is 1 out of every $10 in medicaid and 1 out of every $7 in medicare, encouraging prevention and wellness. and after we finish those steps to reduce cost, we could take seven more steps to he reduce costs. >> there you are hearing senator lamar alexander offering up some republican ideas for how to deal
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with health care overhaul. so let's just take one of them. there you are seeing john thune speaking now. kelly, if we are looking at ending fraud and waste in the medicare system, the democrats say that's what their plan does and the republicans go about touting it as cuts to medicare, cuts to seniors medicare. so who is right? >> republicans are focused on what's known as medicare advantage, which affects not all seniors but those who participate in that and the plan would have cuts to that program, which is one aspect of the medicare program. so, that's what republicans have focused on a lot with much of their criticism about cuts to medicare, as they describe it. >> and one of the other things he is talking about there is the small business health care plans. suspect th isn't that what the point of the exchanges are, to provide the opportune for people who work for small business to buy into plans that everybody shares, the pool?
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>> a lot of similarity there republicans say they would like to see that done with on the private sector, not with a government-run option, what we have called the public option where insurance could be purchased, competing against private insurers or the co-op, if you remember that from back in the finance committee days, when we were talking about that, that is also in this bill as another option, which would be the government setting up a nonprofit, which would offer insurance and would be ideal for some of those small businesses or individuals to be able to shop. so, there is similarity here. the difference would be republicans would say no government involvement. the democrats' plan at least uses the government as a backstop, stepping up with seed money and being the overall bureaucracy getting it going and having nonprofit cooperation and competition thereafter. some similarity bus big thematic differences between the two parties. >> all right, kelly o'donnell, thanks so much. today, lawmakers are following the money, they are
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tracking the $787 billion in stimulus. >> and in fact, the big question in today's hearing on the hill, how many jobs have really been created? >> the administration continues to misread the economy and misunderstand the nature of economic growth. they also continue to mislead the american people with the t faulty jobs claims that missed the steps the country needed for an economic recovery r. >> the house oversight committee points to errors in job creation reporting. witnesses testifying today say it shows the importance of transparency, calling it an important part of the process. treasury secretary tim geithner says congress needs to act quickly to bring regulation into the 21st century. >> testified before a joint house and senate hearing on reforming the regulatory system. secretary geithner says regulators didn't have the basic tools to respond to the crisis. he adds, they responded with duct tape and string as leeman brothers and aig drowned.
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or lehman brothers drowned. aig got a big, fat bailout. geithner also said a single regulator, like the federal reserve, should have oversight of the nation's biggest firms. >> and new headaches for the housing market, raising questions and doubts about the economic recovery. >> mortgage delinquencies jumped to a record high in the third quarter this year. the mortgage bankers association says 14% of american homeowners with a mortgage were either behind on their payments or in foreclosure at the end of september. new home starts in october tumbled 10.6% from the previous month. let's go now to cnbc's diana olick. diana, can you explain the numbers? >> well, the numbers were not unexpected. we know that job losses are creating more foreclosures and know this because the big drivers of foreclosures in this report were not the usual subprime which we have been talking about the past several years. subprime is actually improving. what is getting worse is prime, fixed rate regular good-quality loans. they are going bad at a much quicker rate. the reason is folks are losing their jobs.
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the government modification program doesn't work if you don't have an income. and also, fha loans are also increasing in the delinquency rate that is a problem, again it is your taxpayer money, insuring these loans. we have talked about it before, you can have modification programs, you can try to get people into better payments, especially when they have a poor loan, they have a loan that is adjusting or not a particularly good product or wasn't underwritten well. but if they have lost a job, don't have income and they can't pay, then that is the end of that loan and that is a foreclosure. >> diana, i'm sure you saw the front of the "wall street journal" this morning raising the question of a possible double-dip in the housing market, feels like we have recovered bit, hypothesis we are going back down again, a lot of people that subscribe to the theory? >> half and half, talking about the double-dip for a while, yet will it happen in sales, define the double-dip, as it, were foreclosures put more pressure on home prizes so, while we saw some stabilization over the summer and a pump up in existing and new home sales york know that that is going to continue
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on because you are going to lose some of the government stimulus that is, the government has been kind of lowering mortgage rates artificially by buying up fannie and freddie securities, that ends at the end of march. we did get the extension of the home buyer tax credit and expansion but that only goes through april 30th f you couple that with the rise of foreclosures, you will see more pressure on home prices when the programs end and the foreclosures rise, unless we see a real change in the jobs picture, which is really not forecast right now. we are going to see more trouble in housing. >> all right, diana olick, thanks so much. major headaches at the nation's largest airport today and this time, it is not the fault of the weather. it is the faa's computers. plus, all that t.a.r.p. money meant for the bank bailouts about $200 billion left so, how should it be spent to create jobs, pay down the debt? a raging debate inside the government, straight ahead. later, sarah palin on tour. what do the masses at her book signing events tell us about the former governor's chances for 2012?
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governors are blasting the health care bills currently in program. >> their association holding its annual meeting right now in texas and vermont governor jim douglas, who is also the chairman of the national governors association joins us now from texas. governor, good to see you today. give us some reaction to what you think about the plans currently making their way through both the house and the senate? >> i think there are a couple of reactions to what the congress is considering. first of all, the unfunded mandate that is proposed to be placed on the states, this is a time when we are coming out of a long and deep recession, state budgets have been cut significantly in education and pension funding and we have been reading reserves in some states around the country.
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we can't accept a new unfunded mandate from the congress. if they want to expand health care access, expand medicaid, they really need to pay for t secondly, health care reform is something that governors of both parties want to see happen and in fact it is happening in many states, like vermont. but it isn't a matter of just expanding medicaid or talking about a so-called public option. it's really drilling down on what will ultimately control costs, and that means a focus on wellness, on prevention, on early detection and screening, on chronic disease management, which is where three-quarters of the costs are. we have reduced our medicaid utilization in vermont, the number of hospital admissions and nursing home bed days through what we call the blueprint for health, for really focusing on what can contain costs and improve the quality of care. that is where the debate ought to be, not on simple issues like expanding coverage. >> governor, you have a really interesting program in your state that could havers a a lot of people, i know you have brought together providers along
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with the citizens of your state to get more coverage out there, but you know, the only criticism is that it isn't universal. do you think universal coverage around the country is not realistic is that too difficult to do? >> well, it is difficult. i think we can get there, but we have to do it in a sustainable way, because health care costs continue to go up at double dig digits, in many cases, well in excess of inflation. we can't do it as some other states that tried in ways that put pressure on budgets, we reduced our uninsured population from about 10% down to 7.5 and we are going to keep getting more people signed up for insurance, whether it's medicaid or our new catamount program or employer-sponsored insurance or private policy but it is has to be done in a way that is sustainable. >> you just mentioned catamount this is vermont's plan to give people who are run employed access to -- uninsured rather to access to insurance. you have vhap, vermont health
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access plan, that's health insurance program for adults 18 years or older who make more money so that they are not eligible for medicaid but don't make enough really to pay for their own. so, you're offering, in essence, what some of these democratic lawmakers on capitol hill are talking about. you're offering an exchange so that people who currently don't have insurance have a way to buy insurance. could vermont's plan work on the national level? >> well, i think it can, but it does not have a mandate for the purchase of insurance that some in congress want to impose. frankly, i don't think that is a good idea because as we've shown, we have to grow coverage in a sustainable way. what i envision, what we put in place is a seamless transition from medicaid, from vhap, catamount plan to subsidies as incomes rise so people can ultimately afford their own insurance. i think that is the way to do it. at the same time, we have to
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bing those costs down and that is another part of our strategy that really has seen some success. medicaid costs have been down near lay quarter of a billion dollars it is through preventive care, through what we call community health teams, we have got all the private insurance companies and medicaid and shortly, we hope with an announcement from secretary sebelius in september, medicare, at the table, paying providers more if they follow this strategy. so you know it is not as sexy as expanding medicaid or public option or something but it's what really will reform how we deliver health care in america. >> governor, i understand you have done this without raising tax bus at the same time from your own numbers, only added 2.5% of your population to the rolls of those who are insured now. so, it seems like, you know is that enough progress in terms of getting extra people insured? >> well, it's progress and it's not going to happen immediately and that is another concern i have about the debate in washington. there seem to be these arbitrary deadlines, pressure to get
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something done within a political cycle. we launched our blue print for health in 2003, we have been at this 6 1/2 years, our medicaid waiver is four years old now and beginning to see these rules. so, it takes time t is not immediate it can't be done on a dime. but in the end, it's the way i think we want to reform health care in our country. >> governor, thank you so much for joining us today. >> thanks for having me. a $720,000 award to seven plaintiffs in a suit over hurricane katrina damage could open the federal government up to billions of dollars in claim. in fact it is not just the damage from hurricane katrina. it was also the damage from those levees failing in new orleans. the failure to maintain a shipping channel led to massive flooding in st. bernard township parish. who knew being flushed with billions of dollars could be a headache. >> the obama administration is considering extending the $700 billion financial bailout using
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about $200 billion of leftover t.a.r.p. funds to pay down the debt. according to an article in today's "washington post," this suspect a popular plan. david cho wrote the article and joins us from the post headquarters in washington, d.c., "washington post" headquarters. david, why is it so unpopular to pay down the debt with the rest of this money? i would think what make a lot of people nervous is the idea that this money is kind of being set aside right now, feels like it is a slush fund, paying down the debt seems like it might be a popular idea but it is not why? >> not a popular idea because right now, we are in the midst of one of the worst resections in the last 50 years and there is already a movement afoot in the house by democrats to take that money and apply to a new jobs bill that they are working on right now. but really what is enormously unpopular here is that using that 200 billion to pay down the deficit basically would be the strategy by the obama administration to say we are going to extend the life of t.a.r.p., enormously unpopular
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program, but to make it slightly more palatable, we are going to take this -- carve out this 200 billion from it and pay down the deficit. you know, when the treasury went to the white house about this, there was like a collective groan at the white house, do we have to deal with this again this t.a.r.p. legislation? you know it is not something that the white house really wants to deal with, but they -- i think they realize this is necessary. and it's all but certain that t.a.r.p. is going to be extended into next year. >> you know, the t.a.r.p. has really become somewhat of an albatross, the name itself has become associated with money that takes the taxpayers' hard earned cash and puts it toward bailing out people who made unwise decisions. >> but $71 billion has been repaid. we have gotten $10 billion in interests and dividends. it hasn't been a disaster. >> well, here is elizabeth warren, who is now the congressional oversight chair and what she thinks about it. >> she does not like it. that is true. >> if you can borrow at zero and
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go out and speculate with it knowing that if you lose, the taxpayer will pick up the bill and if you win, you will keep all the profits, i mean that is a heck of a business model. >> so, at this point, is there anything, other than saying, okay, forget about the rest of the t.a.r.p. money why put it toward the deficit why not say, forget it, it we are not going to spend it in the first place? if you don't spend it, do you haven't to apply it to the deficit. >> there are actually a lot of people, you know, that is exactly right, saying that they are going to use 200 for deficit reductions, essentially what they are saying we are not going to spend 200 of the t.a.r.p. >> just sounds so much better, let's pay down the deficit. >> makes it look like they are fiscal disciplinarians. i think they are worried in the elections next year, they want to shed this label of tax and spend democrats. they said they could remind people, look with he took 200 billion from the wall street bailout and apply it had to the deficit but there is a second strategy here, which is let's refocus the t.a.r.p. on small
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businesses, on community banks, on helping homeowners and all the programs that will actually live in t.a.r.p. next year will be focused on those three things. the big bank bailouts are wound down. they will keep money on hand in case of crisis in the market bus treasury is making a lot of efforts to recast the image of this thing. i think most people think of aig when they think of t.a.r.p. and citigroup and bank of america. >> worried that is the part of the money we won't get back in the long run, made $10 billion on interest $10 billion profit so far. david, thank you so much for joining us much we appreciate it. . can't forget that. >> thank you for pointing that out. very smart to do so. a pennsylvania couple is under arrest for refusing to tip a waitress they say provided horrible service. >> the college students were charged with theft last month for not paying the mandatory 18% to youity. how is it gratuity if it mandatory after eating at a pub
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in bethlehem for six friends. they say they waited almost an hour for their food, to lack for napkins and silverware for their table and refill their own drinks. when they told the bartender why they refused to pay the tip they called at police. the pub owner says they waited a while for their food, but gave them some food for free. >> a grat to you sit not mandatory. >> this is why mandatory tips don't work what is the incentive to provide good service? >> you shouldn't call it a gratuity. >> prove it is doesn't work. >> yeah. >> all right. we will be right back.
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the chevy malibu and toyota camry received 5 star crash safety ratings. but only malibu has onstar. big deal. i'll just use my phone. let's say we crashed. whoops, you lost your phone and you're disoriented. i'm not disoriented. now you are. onstar automatic crash response can call to see if you're ok. onstar emergency. is everything ok howie? you don't answer, they can automatically send help to your exact location. i think i'll ride with you.
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the army is getting involved in sarah palin's associated book tour. ate associated press says military officials will keep the media from covering her appearances at fort bragg in north carolina on monday. >> right now the former alaska governor is in fort wayne, indiana act, a book store now auto graphic copies of her
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memoir, "going rogue." msnbc's norah o'donnell is going rogue in her own way, fort wayne, indiana. >> she does look very rogue. >> no, that is rouge. >> how is the army getting involved here? >> army officials will prevent the media from covering sarah palin's appearance at fort bragg on monday. what they are saying and just found out, they feel the event will turn into political grandstanding against president barack obama, this coming from a fort bragg spokesperson, tom mccullum, who says the army officials decided to keep the media away from the north carolina base. the public will be able to go there those that want to get books from pail ten base. officials are saying they did not want the event to become a platform for palin supporters to express political opinions "directed against the commander in chief." so, again, a bit of controversy surrounding sarah page. a little bit of controversy. i'm sure sarah palin is not worried that the media will be
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prevented from covering her at fort hood. she is not a big fan of most of the media. there you go army officials concerned about that as you know, sarah palin on fox news channel and hannity the other night said that she thought the fort hood tragedy could have been prevented if the army had done more profiling because hasan, major hasan was, of course, muslim. so, there you have it. we are here at this event in fort wayne, indiana. it is one of two stops she is making in indiana today. this, the second battleground state she has hit at the beginning of her tour, more than 1500 people here, sold just about 2,000 books and signing books for more than two and a half hours now, expected about another half hour to sign books here and then going to another place here in indiana to sign more books and then on to ohio. she is selling quite a lot of books. she has chosen these cities, particularly small and medium-sized cities, a lot of supporters turning out, they really like her, they connect with her. back to you guys. >> norah, thanks so much.
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the glitch is over but the delays persist. >> a computer problem is still causing cancellation and delays at airports across the country, the faa says it was a router problem resulting in flight plans having to be inputted manually much the faa says the glitch lasted four hours. there are no indications it was a cyberattack. they are assessing delays and cancellations right now. the experts, of course, are investigating. but they say it was a computer problem, like the computer problems everyone has at work every day. >> sure. >> only a bigger impact, i think. >> we will take a quick break, be right back. at the first sign of a cold...
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welcome back to "its's the economy" on msnb. a showdown on the hill, the oversight committee tracking the $787 billion in stimulus cash. >> the top republican on the committee on oversight is leading the charge on recovery.gov. >> to characterize, he may have been a little overzealous in
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saying real, identifiable, direct and in fact, it is just a damn estimate, isn't it? >> it's what the recipients reported. >> cnbc's brian schactman joins us with more on this brian this is getting a little bit contention. >> more from representative issi in a second. give you the scene set, part of the recovery act, the government accountability office has to submit bimonthly reports on how this is going. the most recent report focused squarely on the white house claim that 647,000 jobs created or saved through the recovery act, contracts, grants, loans, you name it the report and ensuing testimony basically confirmed the criticism here is a sample, unbelievable stuff. the gao found 9,000 recipients of nearly $1 billion reported no jobs saved or created. then almost 4,000 recipients reported about 58,000 jobs saved or created even though they haven't gotten any money yet with. and 25% of the more than 100,000 reports have not yet been vetted by any federal eyeballs.
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pretty unbelievable. now, most of the problems surrounded basically faulty reporting. the administration says there is no doubt though that jobs are being saved or created bud also no doubting a lot of the politically difficult discrepancies. >> this raw form, unsanitized data may cause embarrassment for some agencies and recipients but my expectation is that any embarrassment suffer already encourage self-correcting behavior and led to better reporting in the future. >> the gao says changes are going to be made when the next numbers are due out in january but even that's not quieting the critics. >> recovery.gov currently proclaims 640,000 to 329 jobs have been created or saved by the stimulus. the administration has continued to brag about this number as a fact, reports have indicated that it's wildly inaccurate. the whole jobs created saved matrix is not only troubled, it is entirely deceitful.
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>> pretty strong language. now, as for those nonexistent congressional districts getting money that has gotten so much media play, guys, the recovery board says the problem has been corrected. from the white house, the overriding theme is that with more than 100,000 reports on billions in spending it is a work in progress but it does seem the administration underestimated the extent of the errors and the reaction to them. back to you. >> the white house told first street the american people care a lot more about our success in creating jobs than our position -- precision counting them. brian, thanks. >> i don't know. all right, brian shactman, thanks so much. the recovery act has ramped up work for scammers, at least. >> conmen with valid-sounding stories are bilking money from americans already struggling in the lean times. monica vodka is with the federal trade commission. in what way, monica? >> well in a number of ways. scam artists are really good at looking for ways to trick consumers out of their money. they can put up websites that
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purport to advertise ways that you can get part of your economic -- your hands on some economic stimulus cash. it may look like a very low-risk transaction. in fact, if you give your personal account information to scam artists, you could lose hundreds of dollars. >> so, what are some of the warning signs? >> um, well, some of the warning signs is that somebody asks you for personal account information, which you need to be very careful of. any financial account information in the wrong hands could lead to identity theft. that's bank account information and that's your credit card numbers. those are the things -- that's how scam artists get into your wallet. some other signs to look for are any websites that are offering you a bit of stimulus cash in exchange for any kind of a fee. or any kind of offer, whether it is a website, whether it is a telephone call or a direct mail piece that you receive, the government is not handing out stimulus money to consumers in
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exchange for a fee. that is always a scam. go ahead and throw those pieces out and don't click on any links that you might get in an e-mail suggesting that you could be getting some of the stimulus cash. >> all right, monica, thank you very much for joining us. we appreciate that. >> thank you for having me. a meeting at the treasury department this week about president obama's new lending proposals for small businesses. >> let's get the details now from the host of msnbc's "your business," jj ram berg. jj, tell us about these proposals much. >> basically what this meeting was for the administration, the treasury secretary, the head of the small business association, administration and -- what small businesses are experience and what the banks are experiencing, so the administration talked about getting t.a.r.p. money down to community banks. they wanted to hear what you think about this, what's going on out there in so, on the show this week, we have someone, one of the small businesses who was at that meeting tell us a little bit about what happened. >> and because financing is such a struggle for small businesses right now, you're profiling someone on the show, talking about creative ways small
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businesses come up with finding financing. >> this is such an amazing story. it's a restaurant here in new york. he needed $40,000. he was in the middle of a renovation. he couldn't get a loan from a bank. and so he asked his customers for money. and so we talk about how he went ahead and did that and what did he with the money. >> real quick, how did he do it? asking your customers for money bea sides paying for what it is? >> she doesn't want to give it away. >> give it a taste. gave them a vip card, paid $500, a vip, got $600 worth of services for it. through doing that he was able to raise the $40,000 to finish his rehn know vaugs. he basically got the loan from his customers. and people involved in the community. they don't want the restaurant to go under if they have just spent $500 that they need to spend. >> they are invested. >> exactly. >> very interesting, jj. >> thank you for joining us. >> just a little taste. we didn't ruin t i was too curious. sorry r you can watch "your business," please do after that every sunday morning 7:30 a.m.
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on msnbc. such a sad day around here it turns out melissa and our producer, mike, they are basically eggo addicts. >> an overstatement. >> the kellogg company says there will be a nationwide shortage of its popular brand of eggo frozen waffles through next summer. are you okay? >> no actually i was in the grocery store looking for them this week and they didn't have any, i couldn't figure it out. i didn't know. waffle plants had to be shut down because of flooding in atlanta. mechanical problems in tennessee. customers, like myself, are already noticing the near-empty egge shelves at the grocery store. when you start hoarding eggos. you hate them, though? >> are some people going to leggo their eggos for a price? on ebay, bidding for a box of nutra grain eggos is up to $49.99. >> that cannot be real. >> see the cabbage patch wry
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yets. >> what did you call eggos? frozen cardboard or -- >> yeah, i really think it is like -- >> you know you have to put them in the toaster, right? not supposed to eat them frozen? >> yeah. thanks. >> maybe you didn't get that. ba humbug, postal service a big old grinch here, not going to forward any letters addressed to santa at north pole, alaska this year. >> not very nice. volunteers in north pole, alaska, have been opening and responding to letters in children sent to santa for more than 50 years. the mayor of north poem says it is an assault on christmas and may even affect business. mayor doug isaacson joins us now by phone. mayor, you have some breaking news on this front, new developments is that true? >> yes, melissa, good morning and thank you for allowing me to be on the show. i do need to clarify what you just said. if you send to north -- santa claus house, for example, what's on the video right now, send your letters to santa claus house, you will get a replay. if you send to santa's mailbag, you will get a reply but the grinch stealing christmas is no
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longer will letters going to santa north pole be able to be answered because they have opted out of a very onerous procedure which in my estimation does not protect the children they are trying to protect. >> explain that to us. >> well, the pogsal service, right, weren't they concerned about somehow children's privacy? i mean why would privacy in 2009 be more of a concern than privacy in 1999? >> thank you and how far back to letters go to santa claus. >> more than 50 years. >> 100 years. we have been answering letters successfully in north pole, alaska, since 1954, as a volunteer concern. it has been a commercial concern since as long as we have been a city. north pole, alaska is where the spirit of christmas lives year round and we have not had an incident where there has been an abuse of children as a result of these letters. in fact, we have been able to spread cheers to tens of thousands of children and even being able to help meet the
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needs of people who have been shut in, like there was an incident where an old lady needed help, her last resort was to write santa claus. the volunteer was able to contact somebody in her community who gave her help with her utilities. >> that's great. >> that kind of story happens all the time. >> listen, kids are supposed to kids are supposed to write to santa, the elves help santa answer these letters where do he they write again, santa claus house? >> if it goes -- just address it to santa claus house or santa's mailbag, any of these type of things or santa at city hall, we will make sure that somebody can get a reply. >> all right. and north pole, alaska, mayor, good to talk to you, thank you so much for your time. >> merry christmas. >> happy holidays. >> thank you, merry christmas. well it is green is universal week here on the networks of nbc universal. >> up next, we are going to hollywood. show you how the big studios are shifting their environmental mindset. stay tuned. this is "it's the economy" only on msnbc. ( music playing )
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green is universal here on the networks of nbc. universal and hollywood might pride itself on being politically correct it comes to going green, they have sort of fallen off the wagon. >> a little bit. gas-guzzling trailers, elaborate sets leave a huge carbon footprint, as well as the private jets. julia boorstin is in hollywood with how they are trying to clean up their act what are they doing? >> shooting a movie can mean massive amounts of waste. movie studios came together to create a set of environmental practices about a year ago and now they are all finding ways to reduce, reuse and recycle. >> camera. >> reporter: cameron diaz, leonardo dicaprio put a face on
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hollywood's push to go green. >> an issue that affects everyone. were. >> reporter: not just for the cameras, behind-the-scenes, hollywood studios are taking action. universal studios uses solar panels, buys carbon offsets and turned 50 tons of paper into dvd cases. away we go directed half the waste to landfills while "evan almighty" planted trees to bring the carbon impact near zero. >> if you are using less paper, going to save money on paper and printing costs. if you are using bulk water as opposed to individual water, you are going to save money. >> reporter: universal preventing 1.5 million water bottles from ending up in landfills by eliminating them on set it is an industry-wide trend. disney assigns an environmental steward to each film, a green cop to enforce policies. welcome to sony's stage 23, where screen gems, a division of sony pictures, is shooting "burlesque" it's seventh move voint very same set.
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the recycled materials have adapted to be everything from a dorm room to a funeral parlor and now a nightclub. it is cheaper to build a cheap set, tear it down, throw it away, but it's not the best thing for the environment. and in the long run it is cheaper to put a little more money into the infrastructure. >> reporter: sony saves tons of lumber, steel and glass from becoming waste, storing everything from set walls to staircase miss this 14,000-piece warehouse, while cutting as much as 40% from construction budget he is. >> the new mentality is there could be a double bottom line, you can get business profit with environmental benefits. >> reporter: the studios tell me that one of the best ways to reduce their environmental impact is to get stars on board f a movie star agrees to fly commercial instead of private or accepts a smaller trailer for their guest -- for their dressing room, then that can have a huge impact, save huge amounts of energy and also save millions of dollars. of course, contessa and melissa, universal studios is one of the companies that's owned by nbc
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universal. >> here is my thought, the only way stars are going to go with smaller trailers or -- >> shamed into it. >> with the -- well if they get a lot of publicity for sitting there on a commercial jet. >> negative publicity for -- the private jet that drives me crazy. >> what the environmental stewards tell me is they say once they explain to the stars, look, you take a trailer half the size this is going to save x-amounts of carbon emissions and going to save this much, then they really get t so, once they understand it they can be convinced. >> okay. thank you, julia. >> we will see. need a f>> we want to know home 622639 with your green tip and we will feature the best ideas on msnbc this saturday. remember what ever you pay for text messages, you will pay for that particular text message as well. >> don't tell us you drive your prius to your private jet. we don't like that leonardo dicaprio. >> oh, naming names? >> no. we will be right back. to stay in tune with life after 50,
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the national shopping spree may be over. >> you know. consumer spending is down, more people are paying off debt and 70% of americans say that this year, they are going to pay for their holiday purchases with cash. good for them. cnbc's carmen wong-ulrich joins us now. this is a good thing or are we witnessing the death of the consumer? >> they are not dead, a little bit of an exaggeration. but adjusting. think of it adjusting. think about it now, we are more than a year in. it is going to be another year or so out. you know, county financial did a survey and they found that basically half of american consumers are saying what, you know what i have been hit so hard by this recession, it is going to take me two years to get out, new habits, talking new habits here. >> we saw a dip in the economy after 9/11, president bush at that time said go out and spend money. this time, what we are seeing, "consumer reports" polled said
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65% planned to spend less what they say, this is another thing, planned to spend less, 50% will make a budget, 78% will not buy gifts, even for themselves. >> right. not really a gift year. >> most people used to shop like that the truth of the matter is people are not. we see them in the savings rate that still, thank god energy the positive numbers as opposed to negative numbers a couple years ago, people are changing their habits, the holiday season, people pulling back quite a bit and are paying over 70% with a debit card or cash in their checking account. less than 25% said they are actually going to use credit. >> that is good though, right? >> this used to be the time of year when you basically would dig yourself a hole for january, february and march and sometimes some folks would take over a year to pay off their balance. this is a good thing for their personal economy. >> we will see what happens with the national economy, carmen, thank you. >> yes, we will with. >> that wraps up this hour quarter "it's the economy." i'm melissa francis.
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you have a nice flight. thank you. (announcer) print online...you upload your document -- we'll take care of the rest. are you saying that women should still consider having mammograms beginning at age 40? >> absolutely. >> political pressure, did the government back down on guidelines suggesting mammograms for women at age 50 instead of age 40 because of critics comparing it to rationing and even death panels? >> screeching halt. an faa computer glitch prompts widespread delays and cancellations at airports nationwi nationwide. a week before thanksgiving, should travelers be worried? >> oh, my god. come here, please. come here. come here, please. come here. why not? i

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